Just Posted: Chapter 23,  ‘QUEEN SIGRID THE HAUGHTY’ to SVEIN’S SAGA

King IVAR the BONELESS was Prince IVAR (Igor) of KIEV and his son

King SWEYN ‘FORKBEARD’ IVARSON was Prince SVEINALD (Sviatoslav) of KIEV

I have just posted a first draft of Chapter 23,  ‘QUEEN SIGRID THE HAUGHTY’ of “The Saga of Svein ‘the Old’ Ivarson” Book Four to the website SeiberTeck.com under the Book Heading of that name.

Queen Sigrid the Haughty of Vaster Gotland

Book 4, Chapter 23,  ‘QUEEN SIGRID THE HAUGHTY’  (Circa 994-991 AD):

Please Note: This website is about Vikings and Varangians and the way they lived over a thousand years ago.  The content is as explicit as Vikings of that time were and scenes of violence and sexuality are depicted without reservation or apology.  Reader discretion is advised.

King Harald Grenske ruled in Vestfold, of the Vik Fjord, and he was married, but he heard that Queen Sigrid had divorced King Erik ‘the Victorious and had returned to her family lands in Vaster Gotland, just east of Vestfold so, he went to western Gotland and proposed to the older Sigrid.  But that same evening, another king, called Vissavald, from Gardariki in the east, came likewise to pay his addresses to Queen Sigrid on a marriage claim of his own.  What was a girl to do?  And she thought of King Sweyn Forkbeard and she suddenly wished it was him beating down her doors with a marriage offer and she thought of Sweyn’s Swedish mother and how she had handled her suitor problem.  So she burned both petty kings to death in her longhall.  That attracted the attention of both Sweyn Forkbeard and Jarl Olaf Tryggvason of York; kings were dying to marry this girl.

The Christian Jarl Olaf, with the support of King Athelred of England, took a warfleet from York to Trondheim, catching the Aesir pagan Jarl Haakon of Lade as he was attempting to rape the most beautiful young woman of Norway.  The woman’s husband organized an armed group to protect her and they were joined by Jarl Olaf, who offered a reward for the head of Haakon.  The Ladejarl’s slave, Kark, obliged Olaf by cutting off Haakon’s head while he was sleeping, but when he presented the head to Olaf the only reward he got was a beheading.  The former slave, Jarl Olaf, thought it unbecoming for a slave to murder his master, and it saved him some gold, I guess.  So, Olaf proclaimed himself king of all Norway and began Christianizing the country at sword point because it was the only way he would be accepted as king.  The proud Aesir pagans were not about to allow a former slave to rule over them.  Jarl Eirik, Haakon’s son, rescued his father’s head and fled Norway to Sweden and then Denmark.  It would take King Olaf several years to subdue the pagan Norway and force Christianity upon them.  A lot of the story is taken directly out of King Olaf Tryggvason’s Saga of the Heimskringla, Norway’s Book of Kings; ‘thank you Snorri’.

After conquering all Norway, King Olaf proposes to Queen Sigrid, and gives her a great gold ring that he took off the door of Jarl Haakon’s pagan temple in Lade, but Haakon’s head has the last laugh because the golden door knocker ring turns out to be gold plated copper, or lead, or tonstone (tungsten), chosen here because the specific gravity is much closer to gold’s.  When Sigrid’s goldsmiths tell her of the fraud, she is embarrassed and upset.  King Olaf returns to Vaster Gotland in the spring for an answer to his proposal and she tells Olaf that she will only marry him if she can remain pagan and that she’s okay with his being Christian.  He calls her a jaded old wench because she knew she would have to convert all along, so, gloves come off and faces are slapped…no…that was Earl Byrhtnoth…Olaf’s glove comes off and he slaps Sigrid across her face with it.  Queen Sigrid the Haughty said under her breath, “This insult, King Olaf, shall be thy death!”

King Olaf’s ongoing Christianizing proselytizing in the Heimskringla goes into detail on the extreme violence and deception Olaf used to convert the pagans and is a source on some of the witchcraft the pagans used against him.  Some of the details can be subtle.  King Olaf was at a feast and was visited by an old one eyed man with a broad brimmed hat who told Olaf many strange tales.  Olaf later looked for the man and asked his cooks if they had seen him.  They said that, as they were making ready the meat, a man came to them, and observed that they were cooking very poor meat for the king’s table, whereupon he gave them two thick and fat pieces of beef, which they boiled with the rest of the meat.  Then the king ordered that all the meat should be thrown away, and said this man can be no other than the Odin whom the heathens have so long worshipped; and added, “but Odin shall not deceive us.”  Perhaps Olaf suspected that the two thick and fat pieces of meat were human flesh from a pagan sacrifice.  The human flesh would have contaminated all the meat in the huge iron kettle.

King Sweyn and Jarl Eirik were continuing their attacks upon Angleland while Norway was in upheaval and the Danes and Hraes’ sacked and plundered Southampton and Winchester in the Roman fashion, enslaving half the citizens and allowing ransoms, then sending the rest off to slave training schools in Kiev before selling them in the slave markets of Baghdad and Constantinople.  King Sweyn helped Princess Gyda with her children by Jarl Olaf after he abandoned his family in Ipswich to become king of Norway.  She is now in the process of giving Sweyn two children as well and when Jarl Eirik visits them in Ipswich, Gyda is convinced that Eirik is gay, of the manly persuasion, but Sweyn doesn’t tell her of his own ‘Theban Band of Brothers’ relationship he has with Eirik or of the wives Eirik also has back home.

Meanwhile, back in Norway, King Olaf baptizes all of Iceland and even Leif Erikson of Greenland.  The Heimskringla describes King Olaf thus: “He was distinguished for cruelty when he was enraged, and tortured many of his enemies.  Some he burnt in fire; some he had torn in pieces by mad dogs; some he had mutilated, or cast down from high precipices.  On this account his friends were attached to him warmly, and his enemies feared him greatly; and thus he made such a fortunate advance in his undertakings, for some obeyed his will out of the friendliest zeal, and others out of dread.”  Suffice it to say, his Christianizing efforts were very effective.

Book Four, “The Saga of Svein ‘the Old’ Ivarson,” demonstrates how Prince Svein ‘the Old’ (Slavic: Sviatoslav ‘the Brave’) of Kiev later moved to Norway and fought to become King Sweyn Forkbeard of Denmark.  But before being forced out of Russia, he sated his battle lust by crushing the Khazars and attacking the great great grandfather of Vlad the Impaler in a bloody campaign into the Heart of Darkness of Wallachia against the Army of the Impalers and their 666 salute.  The campaign was so mortifying that the fifteen thousand pounds of gold that the Emperor of Constantinople paid him to attack them seemed not nearly enough, so Prince Svein attacked the Eastern Roman Empire itself.  He came so close to defeating the greatest empire in the world, that later Danish Christian Kings would call his saga, and the sagas of his kin, “The Lying Sagas of Denmark” and set out to destroy them.

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